Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Luke 5:1-11 Peter’s Hell

Luke 5:1-11  Peter’s Hell
Simon said to Jesus, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”  When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing…When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
Do not be afraid.  Here are those words again.  Why do I fear so much?  When do I fear so much?  I know when:  every time I lose control or when someone else takes control.  I am a control freak!  I want to control everybody and everything:  my day, my job, my boss, my friends, my destiny, my wife, my husband, my children, my life and my death.  But imagine for a moment a dog trying to control its master.  Looks pretty silly.  This is how it must look every time I try to control God.  Pretty silly.
And worse: control often leads to the fine art of manipulation.  Friends get burned.  I get burned.  Control freaks come to an end just like a power outage!  
Depart from me.  Peter loved the Lord.  But his love was elementary, far too simplistic; too black and white.  “Depart from me, Lord”.  I am no good for you.  Peter was afraid because he could not control the situation.  He understood the situation.  If he could not control the catch, he wouldn't be able to control the Lord.  And if he couldn’t control the Lord, he wouldn't be able to protect the Lord.  He felt like the burden was too much.  He felt the pressure to high.  Depart from me Lord.  I am a weak and sinful man.  
Peter understood the situation.  What he didn't understand was the Lord. 
We know not what we ask for. But what Peter was asking for is what many of us ask for:  to be left alone.  When Peter told the Lord to leave him, he was basically asking the Lord to send him to hell.  Oh, the heartfelt and confusing things we say!  Of course Peter knew not what he was asking for.  But every time we ask the Lord to depart from us, we are asking Him to send us to hell.
It’s time we exit the illusion of self-sufficiency and discover and accept one’s own needs:  need of others and God – His forgiveness and friendship. (Pope Benedict XVI) 
A while back, at a retreat in Lubbock, a young lady told me they were seeking evil upon God!  I asked, “Are you sure you know what you are asking for?”    She stood there unresponsive.  I continued, “Did you ever ask yourself why every time you wished evil upon the Lord, evils fell upon you?”   This individual had suffered greatly for her sins.  She knew what I was talking about.  “Have you figured it out yet that every time you try to crucify the Lord, you end up crucifying yourself?  Do you know why?  It’s because you were created in the image and likeness of God.  What you do to Him, you end up doing to yourself.” 
I am a sinful man.  Why should I not be afraid of the Lord when I feel like my sins have taken control of me?  How can you say I should be at peace and my rest tranquil when my life is falling apart?  How can I not worry? Why should I not be filled with stress, or anxiety or even panic attacks?  Why should I feel confident in God when I feel no love?  Be still.  Be silent.  Our peace comes from the Lord’s response to Peter’s insistence.  Peter is no different than me.  He was a sinful man.  I am a sinful man.  He was a useless man.  I am a useless man.  Peter was a simpleton.  I am a simpleton.  He was a control freak.  I am a control freak.  And still…the Lord made one thing very clear to him and that He would like to make very clear to me:  There are many things that I will do.  But I will never depart from you!
Departing from a bad situation is not something the Lord does well.  Love is very different from manipulation.  It asks for nothing in return and get’s more than it ever bargained for.
With a little faith, Peter’s hell turned into Peter’s glory.  He even stopped failing as a fisherman.


  1. "When Peter told the Lord to leave him, he was basically asking the Lord to send him to hell. Oh, the heartfelt and confusing things we say! Of course Peter knew not what he was asking for. But every time we ask the Lord to depart from us, we are asking Him to send us to hell."

    What if we don't ask the Lord to depart, but he's abandoned us anyway? I have a difficult time acknowledging that God never departs from us, especially when I see aspects of my life going down the drain. (A lot out of my personal control...) There are times I wonder if God really truly exists. I've been tempted to abandon the faith completely. (Nobody seems to care when I say this.) Quit going to Mass and confession. Become the polar opposite of what a Christian is supposed to be like. I want to give all the control to God. But, in many respects, I don't see anything happening when I pray to him and worship him. I only see a stagnant, going nowhere existence. I see the world in a horrible mess. I see Americans becoming pagans. Seems like it's hell on earth even having a little ounce of faith in God.

    Jesus says "Do not be afraid." But then the corruption of the world brings up fear and anxiety in everything! How can we be still and be quiet in such a hectic world? I find the burdens of life so draining. I feel God is distant from my life because he's way too busy inspiring the lives of people holier than me, more devout than me, more religious than me.....

    1. I am very sorry you feel that way about the world. My heart break for you. When things are going bad own faith is being tested. I personally ask myself; How can I glorify Jesus in this situation? Remember God cares for each of us; and we are never separated from His watchful, loving eye. Matthew 10:39-31......... Kelly

    2. Hi Anonymous,
      Have you ever had a chance to try doing a "life inventory" through the lens of faith? This activity was introduced to us at a retreat at Montserrat, the Jesuit Retreat Center at Lake Dallas. Basically it involves setting aside time to do a full examination of one's life, identifying events in one's life and noting how God was working in and around and event (pulling us away or toward something, or drawing us more toward Him, etc.). If something like this interests you, you may want to consider contacting one of the spiritual directors at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat Center. This is something one of the spiritual directors there could probably facilitate. It may come up again on one of their upcoming retreats, but not necessarily. (I've been to several retreats there but they haven't all had that particular activity.) The retreats there are excellent in general though. They help retreatants examine in what direction God is leading them.

    3. Anonymous - to add to Kelly's reply, have you heard, "When God seems farthest away is when He is nearest us?" It makes me think about the "Footprints" poem. I honestly believe that the majority of us feel or have felt exactly like you do. I was there for about 15 years. I feel that you are a person of great faith because in your heart of hearts, you must be able to feel in some way or another that God is near, otherwise you would have already left Him and the Church in the dust. It is so difficult to hear God's voice and perhaps you could benefit from some spiritual direction? Maybe think about going on a retreat? A pilgrimage? Many saints found themselves suffering aridity, so you're in great company. Think about offering up your suffering, you never know who you're helping. :) Perhaps this suffering will lead you to holiness and your salvation? I've found some comfort in reading The Diary of St. Faustina. She felt abandoned at times, as did Mother Theresa, just to name a few. I hope this helps a little. May God bless you....

  2. (*Teresa) I'm sorry for that error. After I posted my last comment, I checked my email and a friend had sent this article to me about Mother Teresa's sufferings. The Lord's timing is always perfect.....SW,9171,1655720-6,00.html

  3. Anonymous

    I read your comment regarding thoughts of leaving your faith. The loss I've suffered has been so overwhelming that now I'm having doubts about my Catholic faith. I've already stopped going to Mass and communion everyday. Also, I have stopped going to confession. Several years ago when I lost two children the grief was so bad that I had planned to end my life. The presence of the Lord twice in my room came to my rescue. My loss is even greater now and I'm not feeling the Lord is giving me any comfort. I've tried going to adoration to ask Him for some peace in my life but I've not been able to feel that God is giving me comfort. At first, I thought it might be the Catholic Church I was a member of for over twenty years because I felt the attitude at this church wasn't giving me any strength. I left and joined another Catholic Church and at first I felt comfort but now that's diminishing. Now I'm wondering if I should give up going to church or join another faith. I've been told I'm pretty strong but so far I've not been strong enough and my cries for help go unanswered from the Lord. If He is always there for us why isn't He here for me now?

    1. Thanks to everyone for their heartfelt thoughts and suggestions. It's really no easy road in life. I've learned that the hard way. I've made mistakes in the past ("Peter's hell") that seem to have forever haunted me. I turn to Father's blog as a source of comfort but sometimes I end up feeling more agitated. (Where are you, Jesus, when I need you?) Maybe this tremendous sense of guilt, loneliness, and inability to move on is subsconsciously preventing me from realizing God's been there all along?

      Anonymous - It pains me to read about the loss of your two children. I wish I was there to give you a comfort. I must admit many years ago I contemplated suicide. Even made a failed attempt by taking too much pain medication. I knew at that time the Lord didn't want me to die because all I did was get horribly sick. That was the lowest part of my life. I certainly don't want to ever get that way again. The deep loneliness and sense of worthlessness becomes overwhelming sometimes. I'll go along fine for a few months but then something shocking will happen and it takes me even longer to recover. I've been in the "shocked out of my mind" stage for a year now.

      I don't know if you've attended St. Joseph Richardson, but it's a nice parish with warm and friendly people. It is a very large parish, so it may be hard to connect with people at first. I've visited several parishes throughout the diocese and find by far St. Joseph to be the best. I think because of St. Jo I do continue to go to Mass and haven't abandon the faith yet. There's something about the parish that feels like home. (I so wanted to connect at St. Monica, but unfortunately I've always gotten the cold shoulder. I'm sure there are fine people there, too.) Each parish has a grieving ministry of some sort. That may be something you'd like to look into, Anonymous. Also, a good Catholic counselor can make such a difference. I've started seeing one out of fear I'll get to the point where I do abandon Christ and the Church. (I hope to eventually find a good Spiritual Director, too.) I see how the world has fallen to the waste side without God as the center. I don't want to be a victim of hell....

      Anonymous #1

    2. I don't find that to be true about that church. What someone feels comforting in one church another one may not. I know an individual that put up with about what I did and more at that church and lives three blocks away and won't ever step back in that church. I've found that in counseling they only tell you what they thought you wanted to hear.

    3. I noticed you mentioned St. Joseph. I wouldn't call it warm and friendly when you ask the priest a question and he tells you that you got him when he's too tired. Priests that look the other way so they don't have to say hi as you walk by. A church that if they were so concerned about safety why haven't they put the lights on in the back parking lot until recently. Made so many requests for the lights especially during daylight saving time and the request gets ignored. They keep passing that responsibility on to someone else and then someone else. Yet, they are concerned about safety. There's a Catholic Church about a half hour from Dallas that's smaller with a Pastor that's incredible and people that would do anything to help you. Been going there for a while and find it beautiful. They have people there that say they would be honored to help you out. They are part of the Diocese of Dallas.

  4. JPII teaching on suffering: There is intense suffering that comes not from facing our own death but from watching a loved one die, as Mary had to watch her son die. To bear such suffering is to be very close to the Spirit of Christ. There is no realm of human suffering outside of Christ. Some forms of suffering are most perfectly Christ-like, but every form of suffering is, in some way, able to draw us closer to Christ.

    Perhaps consider a daily rosary? It took months, but one day out of the blue after months of praying the rosary, I noticed this peace in my heart that I had not known before. Everything in my life wasn't all sugar and spice, but I felt different. Maybe consider consecrating yourself to Mary our Mother? The two of you share a horrific experience of losing your flesh and blood.

    You're in my prayers, Anonymous.


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